Greek fava spread

Greek fava spread

fava serving suggestion

FOR A NEWER, IMPROVED RECIPE check out our most recent fava post.

When I first saw fava on a plate, it got me really confused. Why isn’t it green, I thought? I assumed that fava, as the name suggests, is made from the fava beans, which have a spring green and not intensely yellow colour. Also, who can forget Hannibal Lecter talking about fava beans as a “nice accompaniment” to a chianti and some (human) liver? Well, turns out Hannibal Lector wasn’t talking about this fava either!

Greek fava is made with yellow split peas; which the stunningly beautiful volcanic island of Santorini is famous for. Fava is usually served as a part of mezze spread and while its ingredients are very humble it is an utter joy to eat. It is very nourishing and comforting, best enjoyed warm with freshly baked bread (not human liver) and some white wine. It is an interesting dish as even though it is 100% vegan, when you cook it, it curiously smells like a roast chicken!

Yesterday, Greece was celebrating a Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα), which marks the beginning of Orthodox Lent. The celebrations are centered around a big lunch gathering, the food is predominately vegetarian and fava is one of the served dishes . Clean Monday is also a traditional kite flying day, which is strange as it is also (unofficially) known as the worst weather day. So despite my best efforts, I was unable to bring you guys a photo I was hoping for – that of a clear blue sky peppered with an army of colourful kites. Not this year…

yellow split peas

4 as mezze
10 min
20 min
4 as mezze
10 min
20 min
  • 1 and ½ cups of yellow split-peas
  • 1 and ½ small red onions
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp fine salt, more to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • freshly ground pepper
  • approx 3 and ½ cups of water including herb infusion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  • 2 tbsp capers, to serve
  1. Put oregano and thyme into a tea strainer and immerse into boiling water for a few minutes.
  2. Rinse split-peas well, put them into a pot with oregano and thyme-infused water and regular water (use about 3 and ½ cups of liquid in total), two quarters of an onion, and a bay leaf.
  3. Simmer covered on a low heat until peas are completely soft.
  4. As the peas are cooking, chop an onion finely and saute it in a pan in olive oil until caramelised slightly.
  5. Place cooked peas on a sieve to drain excess liquid, keep the liquid in case the texture needs loosening up.
  6. Blend the peas and onion until smooth using an immersion blender. I prefer a milder onion taste so I blended only one quarter of an onion with the peas (and discarded the other quarter).
  7. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
  8. Serve warm, topped with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauteed red onion and capers.
3 g
1 g
0 g
18 g
49 g
*per serving
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1 review, 3 comments
Johanne Rosenthal:
My kids and I adore faba spread topped with chopped red onion and silky with olive oil. Each summer we travel to Hydra (I lived there as a little child) and the first thing we order is bright sunshiny faba. I will be using your recipe tomorrow at a little get together. Keep posting these wonderful recipes. Johanne
    Thanks Johanne and Happy New Year to you! Growing up on a Greek island sounds magical, I'm so jealous!:) Glad to hear that you are also a fava-fan - hope your guests will enjoy it as much as we do.
      Johanne Rosenthal:
      Yesterday I served, using your recipes, Muhammara, Baba Ganoush, Fava and Olive tapenade. All were roaring successes. I tweaked them a tiny bit because my friends are garlic fiends. I served a few other mezzedes including raw cauliflower tabbouleh. I baked up a bunch of fresh pita and sour dough loaves and all disappeared. Thank you for your simple and flavorful recipes.
        I'm delighted to hear that, Johanne! Your feast sounds utterly delicious (I love raw cauliflower florets!). You must have spent a lot of time preparing such a varied spread so I'm double pleased for you that it went down so well with your guests.
        PS: I'm also a massive garlic fan, but try to restrain myself a little when it comes to recipes for the blog;) as I know that it may put off some people.
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